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Horner expects further debate on engine mapping issue

NEWS STORY
23/07/2012

Debate surrounding Red Bull's engine mapping is set to rumble on at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, despite being considered legal by the stewards in Hockenheim.

The reigning constructors' champions were referred to the stewards at Hockenheim by the FIA after it came to light that the team was using complicated engine mapping, presumably to gain an aerodynamic benefit by blowing exhaust gases under the car.

The practice was prevalent in 2011 though regulation changes made ahead of this season were written with the explicit purpose of banning the concept. However, teams still found a loophole, a point raised by Mercedes boss Ross Brawn back at the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

"The FIA probably told you all that we weren't going to have exhaust blown diffusers anymore, we thought we weren't going to have them, and several cars have got them," he said back in March.

Red Bull's solution is understood to give drivers a different throttle response, specifically delivering less torque than the engine is capable of. The extra energy being expelled from the engine is then being used to gain an aerodynamic advantage.

It was this point that the FIA referred to the stewards on Sunday morning in Germany.

After a lengthy debate the stewards were forced to concede that, while they weren't happy with the arguments Red Bull provided, what the team wasn't doing didn't strictly breach the exact current wording of the regulations.

"The regulations are fairly straight forward and it's either in or out," Red Bull boss Christian Horner said. "It can't be a little bit in or a little bit out.

"Renault made their case very clearly and the stewards listened to the discussion and looked at all the evidence, not just from this race but from all of the races from this year and deemed that the regulation, which in fairness is trying to deal with something that's a very complex issue, was in full compliance with the regulations."

Horner's team is fast developing a reputation as Formula One's bad boys after being summoned to the stewards office twice in Germany, as well as forcing a clarification of the technical regulations after the Monaco Grand Prix.

"Unfortunately when you have a quick car it is inevitable that questions are asked," Horner claimed. "That's the nature of Formula One at the end of the day, you're always going to have other teams that are going to speculate."

While the Red Bull may have been declared legal in Germany discussion between the teams will continue ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend as they gather today for a scheduled Technical Working Group meeting. "I'm sure there's going to be some debate about it," Horner admitted. "I'm sure that this will no doubt go on to the agenda."

When asked whether he expects a clarification of the regulations, effectively banning the concept, Horner was less sure. "The regulations are clear, so there could well be further technical directives that are designed to further try and clarify those regulations."

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